Love is complicated. Math is simple.

In Japan, there’s an oft-repeated cynical joke that says the ideal boyfriend or husband is like an ATM: he’s quiet and has a lot of money. But while, from a certain perspective, it might be great to have a guy with no outspoken opinions who’s always ready to spit out 10,000-yen bills to pay for dinner and subsidize shopping, taking the ATM analogy to its logical conclusion actually describes a much more balanced relationship.

Illustrating this is a story from Japanese Twitter user @mafox_08, who initially tweeted it as though he’d witnessed the event firsthand, before explaining that he was actually paraphrasing an incident he’d heard about elsewhere. Nonetheless, the linguistic-derived logic is sound (translation below).

This happened while I was at Starbucks.

Man: “Let’s break up.”

Woman: “What? But when you told me you loved me, you said you wanted to be together even if I used you like an ATM. What am I supposed to do now?”

Me (thinking): “Would he seriously say that sort of thing? Even if he did, that’s pretty bold of her to repeat in public in such a loud voice…”

Man: “Look, don’t you know how an ATM works? If you don’t make any deposits, you can’t make any withdrawls.”

Odds are the unsatisfied boyfriend wasn’t saying he wanted his girlfriend to prepay for any dating expenses he’d later be covering, but rather poignantly reminding her that any lasting romance requires compromises and mutual benefit. Once you cut out the first part of a give-and-take attitude, you’re just using up any goodwill or joy the relationship has, and eventually that account is going to dwindle to nothing.

Source: Twitter/@mafox_08 (1, 2) via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso